i_id: (Lightbringer)
[personal profile] i_id
Finally, I have made tangible progress on Gandalf!

Previously, I've been working at scrubbing away the crumbling foam lining the inside of most of the cabin hull. This has been a dusty, depressing task, filthy and destructive to both my morale and my vacuum. The rotten foam comes off the hull in big flakes, which then turn to itchy golden dust at the slightest breath or touch. And they leave behind a coarse crust of glue all over the fiberglass. I haven't figured out how to remove it yet. It might not be possible, dooming me to just paint over it and leave the walls of my eggshell home with the unpleasant and abrasive texture of a popcorn ceiling.

With the demise of the vacuum, my work on that stopped. It is early days in this whole project, and I freely admit I am easily discouraged. It's daunting work ahead of me, work I expect to take months, if not years. Especially if I keep wasting week after week.

But perhaps a change of focus is what I needed. Yesterday, my usually-brief flare of motivation coincided neatly with my dad's free time, and the two of us tackled a new project in the main cabin.

I'm not sure how obvious it is in the photo above, but the two berths in the main cabin are both low, and a little narrower than a twin bed. They're quite comfortable as either bed or couch. And behind them, against the hull, are cupboards (currently without doors) with narrow shells (and more of the rotting vinyl and foam). Under the bunks are little sliding doors to the triangular little space there, which houses the sparse plumbing of the boat. I hadn't done anything to that space yet because it was difficult to ask and utterly filthy, but it had to be attacked.

So we took the simple route; we tore out the entire bunk.

It wasn't hard, only a few screws and bolts, and then manhandling the large pieces out. Under it, however, I found horrors. Thick black soil was collected at the low points, coated with dehydrated flakes of papery white mold. Dead wasps were heaped in drifts. And over everything, more of that pernicious golden foam.

With a slick (a wide, flat chisel), a dustpan, and a screwdriver, I made my initial attack on the morass of filth, and followed that with a heavy brush, several buckets of water, and a lot of Oxy-Clean. The run-off collected along a fiberglass flange in the hull, thick as cocoa and foamy brown. It smelled like horrible things, and the job was made harder by having to work around the plumbing. I tried not to think about the fact that I was handling my sewage and freshwater pipes. And what ninny laid them side by side? I found the fact that neither had seen use in at least seven years somewhat comforting.

At length, I had scrubbed all I could reach, and sponged out as much as possible of the foamy slime. It was immensely satisfying to hose it all away, down into the bilge. I paid for that satisfaction by having to pump out the bilge for the second tme that day, but it was worth it.

Not perfect, but no longer so evocative of compost heaps and bio-hazard labels.


Date: 2011-08-19 12:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] penguinfaery.livejournal.com
Are their places you could cover up the glue with like...paneling, if you can't get it off? Also, even old glue can sometimes be melted by (likely horribly toxic) stuff.

You have a face mask, right? D:

Date: 2011-08-19 01:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] i-id.livejournal.com
I can cover it up with something flexible again, the way it was covered with vinyl. There aren't really any flat surfaces involved.

And I can't use a chemical stripper, because it's a fiberglass boat. Meaning my boat is actually -made- of spun glass cloth saturated in glue.

Date: 2011-08-19 11:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] skylanth.livejournal.com
Nice work! Keep going, keep going! I will eventually get up there and when I do, I hope to help you on the boat, if you'll accept my help. I'm very /very/ good at cleaning disgusting stuff.

Sounds like you need goggles, a face mask, and perhaps a plastic scraper that can get off the glue without harming the fiberglass. I would suggest glue solvents but...again, fiberglass is half glue as it is. In any case, sounds like it's time for a trip to the wonderland of Home Depot!


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